This is my second in a series of articles on tips for using Microsoft Access. Last time, I demonstrated how to use the Access report wizard. This week, I’ll show you how to create a cover page for reports that you print. I’ll use Access 2000 to illustrate this tip, but the techniques are similar in Access 97 and 2002.

The secret of the cover page
By default, Access starts printing data on the first page of your report. For reports that users typically view on screen and rarely print, that behavior works well.

On the other hand, a cover page comes in handy for reports that are routinely printed, copied, and distributed. You can use the cover page to transmit information including the distribution list, the purpose, the contents of the report, and whether the report is confidential.

To create a cover page for a report, many Access users resort to creating the cover page in Word. The problem with that approach is that you have to manually add the cover page to the report printout. A better solution is to print the cover page every time you run the report.

The steps for creating the cover page are pretty straightforward:

  1. Open the report in Design view.
  2. Expand the Report Header section.
  3. Enter the information you want to appear on the cover page.
  4. Set the Force New Page property of the Report Header to After Section.

Let’s take a look at a sample report. When you open your report in design view, click once in the Report Header section to select it. Then, move the cursor over the top of the Page Header band until it changes to a cross with arrows facing up and down, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A
Click on the Report Header section to select it, mouse over the top of the Page Header section, and click and drag to expand the Report Header section.

Figure B shows what my sample report design looks like after I added some additional language for the cover page. I created the Confidential stamp with WordArt (in Word) and copied and pasted it into the Access report. To add your company logo, just go to Insert | Picture and navigate to the image file. (You may have to resize it after you insert it.)

Figure B
This is how my sample report looked after I added text to the Report Header section.

At this point, you’re almost ready to print your report. The last step is to tell Access to issue a page break after the report header prints. To make this change, right-click on the Report Header section and choose Properties. Click the Format tab, click on the drop-down list for the Force New Page, and select After Section, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C
To print the cover page separately from the body of the report, make this change to the Report Header’s Force New Page property.

Figure D shows how the report looks in print preview. If we hadn’t forced a page break after the report header, the data would have started immediately below the text “Internal Use Only.”

Figure D
This is what my report looks like after setting up the cover page.

More report tips to come
If you liked this Access tip, stay tuned. In future columns, I’ll show you some advanced tips for customizing your Access reports.

Share your report tips

To comment on this article, or to share your own Access report questions or tips, please post a comment or write to Jeff.